Juvenile Offenses

Mercer County NJ Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorneys

The stress is bad enough when a loved one has been charged with a criminal offense but when that loved one is your child, the stress can be overwhelming. The juvenile criminal justice system is run completely different than the adult criminal justice system in New Jersey. First and foremost, the charges will be heard in the Family Division of the Mercer County Superior Court as opposed to the Criminal Division of the Mercer County Superior Court. In addition, the overall goal of the juvenile criminal justice system is to rehabilitate as opposed to pure punishment. With that being said, if the charges are serious enough, the goal will change and lean more towards punishing as opposed to rehabilitating. On top of that, if a juvenile has been charged with a serious offense like carjacking, burglary, robbery, aggravated assault, eluding, murder or unlawful possession of a weapon they do run the risk of being waived up to the adult criminal justice system. If that occurs, their case would be prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system and they will be subject to the increased penalties that, that system brings. For more information on the difference in exposure, please see below.

Speak to a Juvenile Criminal Lawyer in Trenton NJ

If your child has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in Mercer County Proetta, Oliver & Fay can help. New Jersey requires that every juvenile charged with a criminal offense be represented by an attorney.  Mr. Oliver has represented juveniles charged with various juvenile offenses, ranging from carjacking, aggravated assault and robbery to possession of marijuana under 50 grams, simple assault and shoplifting. Our office has extensive experience with the juvenile criminal justice system and has a complete grasp on how the system works. We serve all of Mercer County including towns like Lawrence, Hamilton, Ewing, West Windsor, East Windsor, Robbinsville, Hightstown, Pennington and Hopewell. Prior to founding the firm, Mr. Oliver was a partner at one of the State’s largest criminal defense firms. He now is able to bring that big firm experience to our small firm setting. This allows him to be more hands on with his caseload. If you would like to come into our office to have a face to face consultation with one of us then please contact us at (609) 789-0779. We are available 24/7 to help assist in anyway possible and as always our initial consultations are always free. Now here is some of offenses that we represent juveniles on in Mercer County.

What You Should Know if Your Child is Charged with a Crime in Mercer County

Anyone who is under the age of eighteen (18) at the time of the commission of the offense will have their charges litigated in the Family Division of the Mercer County Superior Court. This is regardless of the whether the juvenile is charged with an indictable offense (Felony) or a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor). It is important to note here, if the individual is over eighteen by the time they are ultimately charged but were under the age of eighteen at the time of offense, then the case still must be heard in Juvenile Court. This is very common when it comes to sex offenses due in large part to the lack of statute of limitations that apply to most of these types of offenses. For example, if an individual is charged with sexual assault for an offense that occurred when they were fourteen (14) years old but they are currently twenty-eight years old their case will still be heard in Juvenile Court. That means that the individual will also only be facing the potential penalties that a typical juvenile would and not an adult despite their age.

Frequently Charged Juvenile Offenses in Mercer County New Jersey

Types of Juvenile Proceedings in New Jersey

There are really four different types of proceedings that a juvenile charged with a crime can partake in. Typically speaking, the type of the offense and the juvenile’s record, if any, will play a major role in what type of proceeding the juvenile is scheduled for. Those proceedings are as follows:

  • Station House Adjustment
  • Juvenile Conference Committee
  • Juvenile Referee Hearing
  • Formal Hearing

Common Differences Between the Juvenile and Adult Criminal Justice System in NJ

As touched upon above, the juvenile criminal justice system is run completely different than the adult criminal justice system. Here is some of the key differences:

  • Regardless of the degree of the offense, a juvenile charged with a criminal offense will be litigated in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the County where the juvenile resides. That is unless the case involves co-defendant(s) and then the matter will be heard in the County where the incident occurred. This is regardless of the degree of the offense.
    • In the adult system, the degree of the offense will dictate what Court has original jurisdiction over the charges. If the offenses is classified as an indictable offenses (felony) then they will be heard in the Criminal Division of the Superior Court in the County where the offense happened. If the offenses is considered a disorderly persons offenses (misdemeanor) then the case will be heard in the local municipal court where the incident occurred.
  • Juvenile’s charged with a criminal offense are not entitled to a jury trial and are only afforded a bench trial regardless of the degree of the offense.
    • An adult charged with a criminal offense will be entitled to a trial of their choice if the matters is classified as an indictable (felony). However, if the adult is charged with a disorderly persons offense, then they will only be entitled to a bench trial.
  • The potential exposure a juvenile faces if convicted of a criminal offense is drastically less than an adult. Here is a chart for comparison:

First Degree Felony:

  • Adult = 10 to 20 years in a New Jersey State Prison
  • Juvenile = 4 years in Juvenile Detention Center

Second Degree Felony:

  • Adult = 5 to 10 years in a New Jersey State Prison
  • Juvenile = 3 years in Juvenile Detention Center

Third Degree Felony:

  • Adult = 3 to 5 years in a New Jersey State Prison
  • Juvenile = 2 years in Juvenile Detention Center

Fourth Degree Felony:

  • Adult = 18 months in a New Jersey State Prison
  • Juvenile = 1 year in Juvenile Detention Center

Disorderly Persons Offense:

  • Adult = 6 months in the County Jail
  • Juvenile = 6 months in a Detention Center

Speak to Juvenile Criminal Defense Attorney in Princeton Today – 609-789-0779

If your child has been charged with a criminal offense in Mercer County the Law Offices of Proetta & Oliver can help. Our office serves all of Mercer County including towns like West Windsor, Trenton, Ewing, Princeton, Hamilton and Robbinsville. We have extensive experience representing juveniles charged with simple assault, possession of marijuana under 50 grams, possession of heroin, aggravated assault and shoplifting. Being convicted of a criminal offense as a juvenile can make getting into their dream college or obtaining meaningful employment rather difficult. If you would like to come into our office for a free initial consultation today then please contact us at (609) 789-0779 or leave us a message by clicking here.